Off late, due to various Government measures and car crash test organizations like Global New Car Assessment Program (GNCAP) which publishes car safety ratings, many car buyers have finally understood the importance of having a car which has a solid build quality with added safety features. Yes, given India’s worst record in road safety and the increasing number of fatalities that occur every day due to road accidents, having a car with a good build quality and safety features only makes sense. Basically, car safety is categorized into:
- Active Safety and
- Passive Safety
As the term denotes, it plays an active role in keeping your car safe and reduces the chances of a crash. It constantly monitors one or more aspects of your car for potential risks. Some of the common active safety features include Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), etc...
It comes into play when a crash has occurred. Passive safety systems prevent the driver and passengers from getting injured by reducing the impact of the crash. Some of the common passive safety features are seatbelts, airbags, ISOFIX mounts, crumple zones, etc… Keep in mind that the majority of passive safety systems work only when you wear your seatbelt.
So, if you are in the market to buy a new car, make sure to check the following:
Car Safety Ratings:
Organizations like GNCAP provide safety ratings for new cars. They rate cars in terms of their
- Body shell and structure
- Foot-well area
- Adult occupant protection and
- Child occupant protection
In addition to this, The Ministry for Road Transport and Highways has proposed the automakers to use 70 percent of galvanized steel for car body panels. Automakers currently use only 30 percent of galvanized steel for the Indian market. Whereas for exports, it rises to 70 percent. Galvanized steel is nothing but a zinc coating applied to the steel. It prevents corrosion thus protecting the structural safety and the longevity of the car.
Airbags protect the vehicle occupants by holding them in their seats in the event of a collision. It is always recommended to buy a car with dual front airbags, protecting the driver and the passenger in the front. Added bonus if you have side or curtain airbags. We would like to reiterate that airbags will solve the purpose only when you wear your seatbelt.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with EBD
When a brake is applied suddenly with huge force the wheels get locked and go out of control resulting in an accident. ABS with electronic brake-force distribution prevents the wheels from locking and skidding. Ensuring better control even during sudden braking.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Many car accidents happen because the car loses control due to oversteer or understeer in corners, low traction in wet roads, etc… ESC monitors the steering wheel angle along with the car’s individual wheel rotation. During an emergency, ESC applies the brake and balances the engine power to regain control.
When you are behind the wheel, you need to be comfortable. Having adjustable steering commonly known as tilt and telescopic steering will help the driver to adjust the height of the steering wheel and the distance from the driver. This reduces any sort of discomfort to the driver.
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS):
A sensor is placed in each wheel to monitor the tyre pressure. TPMS sends an alert to the instrument cluster when the tyre pressure is low. It increases your car’s safety on the road with better handling, reduced braking distance and better fuel economy.
As a car’s seat won't be safe for a child, many carmakers have fitted ISOFIX mounts to attach a child’s seat to the car’s seat. It is recommended to have child seats for children below four years of age for additional safety. Sadly many parents in India are unaware of this.
Given our cramped parking spaces, we often require assistance from other people to park our car. This might not be possible every single time. This is where parking sensors/camera come handy. They help the car to park safely and prevent you from hitting an obstacle. Sensors/Camera become active the moment you shift to reverse gear.
Lane Departure Warning:
This is an advanced safety feature that alerts the driver when the driver deviates from a lane unintentionally due to lapse in concentration. A warning sound will constantly beep to get the driver back in the original lane thus avoiding accidents.
Blind spot Detection and Warning:
Blind spots are usually the areas that are not visible for a driver. Blind spots can be caused by a car’s pillar or by other cars/people. With blind spot detection and warning system, the driver will be able to get information about the objects which he is unable to see otherwise. This enhances the safety of the car and prevents collision.
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